Fast Times 2013

Happy New Year! Where does the time go? I had high hopes and obviously grandiose expectations for an end of the year wrap up post, a year of races post, recaps of two late fall races and another Skin Deep post. The posts are all written…in my head. If only there was a way to synch my mind with my computer I would be a prolific blogger.

I love this blogging thing and wish I could devote more time to honing my writing and photography skills. I love the therapeutic aspect of writing my thoughts and feelings. It’s been beneficial simply to get it out, but even more helpful to hear feedback from others who graciously take the time to comment here.

I have felt very welcomed by the community of bloggers I have joined. I am reading even if you don’t see a comment from me. Technical issues took up a great deal of time in the last few months. For some reason my phone does not allow me to comment on certain blogs. I enjoy tech troubleshooting so it annoys me that I can’t figure out the problem. My 2008 MacBook has given me a run for my money this year. After countless trips to the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store I installed new RAM and a new hard drive on my own. Prior to these interventions the computer ran so slowly it was impossible to do anything without being locked out by the swirling ball of frustration. It’s a running much better now thankfully so maybe I can get blog posts done more frequently.

From November through the New Year life rolled along at breakneck speed. Here are some highlights:

  • I am now the proud wearer of Invisalign braces! Long story short although I had braces at the very early age of 10 my bottom teeth have turned inward and I need to straighten them so I can finish an unresolved issue on my top teeth. I don’t believe they are invisible and though I am grateful to have the good fortune to fix this issue they are an uncomfortable nuisance.
  • I ran the Monson Memorial Classic Half Marathon (cute pics of Carlos if you click the link!) again in November. I ran it for the first time in 2011 less than two months after breaking a rib during my training for the Disney Marathon. It was my slowest half marathon time. This time I ran an unbelievable race and enjoyed a truly unexpected PR. I will eventually write about it because it’s a race I would like to remember.
  • My husband, son and I ran the Northampton Hot Chocolate 5K in early December. I first ran this race in 2010. This time Orlando and Carlos ran together with my friend Mary’s daughter. Carlos did amazing. He ran the entire race and finished in just over 32 minutes. I stayed back with Mary who hasn’t run in years and suffers from tremendous knee pain at times. This was an interesting experience for me and one I would really like to elaborate on in a future post.
  • I helped run the Secret Santa Gift Shop at my son’s school which is a three day event where the kids get to shop for their families.
  • I adopted a whole foods plant based diet aka vegan after being vegetarian for three years.
  • Carlos and I enjoyed an impromptu two days in New York City with my sister. We went to the top of the Empire State Building, walked a bit of Central Park, saw Rockefeller Center, went to the Lego Store, the Apple Store and F.A.O. Schwartz.
  • Thanks to my sister I had the good fortune of dining at the organic vegan Candle Cafe in NYC. It was incredibly delicious.
  • My baby boy turned 7. I really wish time would slow down. Legos are all the rage in his life right now. Our guest room has been turned into Lego City.

    Legos have taken over my home!
    A new Lego truck
  • Christmas came and went with little fanfare. Orlando and I got iPads for each other. I got the mini and he got the new iPad Air.
  • I worked a lot of overtime in December. My husband got laid off on December 16th which always causes a bit of distress initially. Fortunately he started back at work the week after Christmas. This has been a very unpredictable year for him. I have been lucky to pick up overtime often, but more work means less blogging, reading and other nonessential “fun” activities.
  • Carlos got old school Battleship for Christmas and we have been having so much fun playing it together, such a great game!
  • We spent New Year’s Eve at my friend’s home in upstate New York. It was a fitting way to close the year. She is one of my dearest friends and I have been honored to be welcomed into her trusted circle of friends this year as she bravely battled breast cancer. This, in and of itself is challenging, but she did it while pregnant with her second child. She is a warrior! My friend and her husband now have a gorgeous baby girl who is healthy and so very happy. I couldn’t wait to hold her. She just sat there blissfully in my arms. As I watched my friend and her beautiful family my heart filled with so many emotions just thinking of all she has been through this year. It was an important reminder for me to not take the goodness of life for granted.

I learned a lot about myself this year. I ran a lot this year.  I shattered my fitness goals. I have taken up yoga pretty seriously and hope to continue to improve and grow in my practice.

Despite all of these milestones I have found myself in the throes of emotional eating on and off since October. Just as things improved the holidays triggered the behavior once again. I realize that my journey with weight, food issues and body image distortion are far from over. I have more tools now to cope with emotional eating so that I don’t incur a weight gain, but the fact that I’m still struggling with certain behaviors is frustrating and a bit frightening.

It’s a new year and as with the past 7 new years I intend to continue to grow, change and improve myself and my life. Having Carlos 7 years ago sparked a fire inside of me that has encouraged me to be the best person I can be. I can always be better. Improvement requires change. Change is difficult. It means facing fears, looking inside of yourself and digging up hidden truths, trying new things and most importantly it means failing.

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” C.S. Lewis

Free Flow Friday

Another edition of my random thoughts posted via the talk to text feature on my phone.

I really love the new iTunes Radio. I’m currently listening to an Avicii station at the gym.

Today’s workout is Jamie Eason’s Live Trainer phase 1 week 4 chest/triceps. I tend to go out of order on the days. So far I really like this program because it gives me some structure and guidance in the gym. Plus all of the exercises have accompanying video demonstrations.

Oh my goodness why am I so emotional. Seriously I have no self-esteem or confidence lately.

Halloween trick or treating was a success despite the rain. Now I have to figure out how to slowly get rid of the massive quantity of candy without Carlos noticing.

Mission accomplished
Mission accomplished

We just got new neighbors yesterday. Hopefully they are friendlier than the last neighbors.

I really enjoy podcasts. My favorites are Roni’s Weigh, The Rich Roll Podcast, Half Size Me and No Meat Athlete.

White socks and little boys make no sense.

I just paid $3.19 per gallon of gas at Stop & Shop. It’s sad that i’m excited by this.

I’m washing my bed linens today. It takes 3 loads to do them all.

Taking Carlos and his friend to Kick or Treat event through Carlos’ soccer program. More candy coming their way!

The boys are having such interesting conversation about butts, poop, diarrhea and farts. They are talking about it while eating!

Carlos lost a shin pad during soccer and actually tried to blame it on me.

House Hunters in Athens, Greece – the couple is most concerned about getting a piano in the apartment. Also the guy looks very much like Howard Stern.

We ordered pizza tonight after soccer. I didn’t eat any because I don’t eat dairy anymore. It was my favorite pizza with fresh roasted tomatoes, feta and artichoke hearts. I made a kale salad for myself. Sometimes it’s really difficult to eat differently, but I feel so much better eating a certain diet.

Since I’m not eating dairy that means no milk chocolate which makes eating most of Carlos’ Halloween candy off limits. I have not touched one piece of candy this year. I feel great and very in control right now.

Election Day on Tuesday…go vote!

Watching the local news and turns out that guy Penn from Penn and Teller is from Greenfield, MA about 45 minutes north of where I love. Who knew?

I went to vinyasa yoga class twice this week. I love it but it’s really challenging. I want to be good at yoga someday.

It’s a late night and already 11:30. Time for bed. Long run in the morning, soccer, more soccer, afternoon Fright Fest at Six Flags and date night with my husband on the agenda tomorrow.

Run or Dye

Last year Carlos and I did the Color Me Rad 5K in Boston. We had so much fun we signed up for another color run this year. This time we did Run or Dye in East Hartford, CT. The air was still steamy from the week long heat wave. Let’s just say we did more walking than running. We were a tie dyed mess before our wave even took off and sweat was pouring down our faces. Carlos and I made the most of it, throwing more color on each other then chasing each other. We both agreed that for some reason the race last year was more fun, but we still had a great time together.

I overheard lots of people as we waited for our wave to take off mentioning that it was their first race. I started to ponder the pros and cons of doing one of these color runs as first 5K.

Cons

As we were going through the course I felt kind of badly for some of the people who were really trying to give it their all. Almost everyone was walking because of the heat and the fact that the course was along thick grass and loose gravel. This made it challenging for anyone actually trying to run. Then you are periodically met with color stations where you get color bombed as you run through. If you’ve been training for a 5K and are trying to set a certain time goal this type of race might prove disappointing.

Pros

These are fun runs that new runners can do to try out the distance and the race experience. There is no pressure to run a certain time or pace. Color runs are even better to do with a group of people so if you’re apprehensive about running a race alone and don’t already have people to run with these are easy races to recruit friends to join in with you. Any age can participate so these races are fantastic for parents who might have difficulty finding child care in order to run a race.

Run or Dye East Hartford took place at Rentschler Field which is better known as home to the UConn Huskies football team. The parking lots were packed so pros and cons aside it was awesome to see so many people come out on a hot day to do something active and fun.  There isn’t much else to say so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

This is what I typed into my workout calendar entry for today’s exercise.

 

3.25 mile run in 31:42

My usual route around home

A few words about this run:

-My Garmin was acting funny and my pace was all over the place despite a steady normal pace for most of the run. This is a very familiar route and at one point on a flat bit my pace was around 15 min/mile. That is impossible. I will note that the weather is overcast and very cloudy so I’m not sure if that was interfering with the satellite signal to my Garmin.
-I binged on cereal before my run and boy could I feel it in my stomach. I am ashamed of this. I haven’t done this in ages, but I started on it and couldn’t stop. The fact that it was flavorless millet puffs doesn’t matter. What’s important is that I recognized the behavior and learn from it. It’s really hard not to be disgusted by my actions. I thought I was over this behavior.
-I am an emotional wreck for some reason. I couldn’t stop thinking about this issue with Laura and the gift card which led to all sorts of thoughts about things with my Dad. I was literally about to burst into tears and if anyone had seen my face they would have thought I was crazy or constipated!
-On a positive note I ran…I ran even though I didn’t feel like it. I went out and got fresh air. I moved my body for 3.25 miles. In doing so I stopped my binge and now I’m going to move on for the day. This will not break me. I didn’t get fat from three bowls of millet puffs. I will not beat myself up over this. 

 

Oddly enough just as I finished cutting and pasting this here my Mom called. I’m not going to get into the whole saga regarding my Dad, but my Mom managed to coax me into unloading onto her. I sobbed and sniffled my way through my feelings. My Mom demanded that I stop letting my Dad (they are divorced) make me feel badly. My aunt got on the phone (my Mom and her sister work together) and she joined in on lecturing me not to let anyone make me unhappy. They are right and by the end of the conversation I felt so much better. So now I’m going shopping in my new size 6 khaki capris. I am going to buy a nice dress for Carlos’ Kindergarten graduation tomorrow. I’m going to get a manicure, my eyebrows waxed and a makeover at Bare Escentuals. I would love a pedicure, but my feet are in need of a podiatrist before they can look pretty again. Ugghhh they’re feet who am I kidding?! More on that another day! Then I will finish putting together the Kindergarten class gift for the teacher. Eventually I will go to bed because I have two more nights to go of my 6 night stretch.

Life has been busy lately, in a good way. I keep up with blogs in the middle of the night from my phone when I’m on break and sometimes in the morning when I’m eating breakfast. I miss commenting and I miss writing here. I have some fun news to share and with any luck I’ll be back before the end of the week. Now time to hit the mall.

Running up a mountain

I posted this on Facebook yesterday to one of my co-workers:

A while ago you suggested that I try running up Skinner Mountain to change up my running routine. I did it! I’m pretty sure I won’t be as excited tomorrow when I can’t sit down. — at J. A. Skinner State Park.

I totally threw my arms in the air, a la Rocky, when I reached the top. I may have even thrown a little fist pump out there. No one was watching, but frankly I don’t think I would have cared if there was a crowd of people.

I’m really bored with my typical running routes. The weather has been weird and cold even when the forecast calls for a sunny day in the 50s. I feel like I’ve worn out my welcome at the gym and although the treadmill and I have grown to tolerate each other I am so tired of looking at the same walls, same people, same TV screens and same digital display of the treadmill. So yesterday I decided to shake things up a bit. Work has been particularly trying lately thanks to one particular patient. I work on a locked psych unit so it takes me A LOT to say that my patience is being tried at work. I needed to release some tension so I made up my mind to run the mountain and I refused to think of anything else until I made it to the top.

I got out of my car, stretched out a bit and took off. I’m not quite ready for steep trail running so I played it safe and ran the paved road that circles the mountain up to the summit. Now we’re not talking the Rockies people. This is the western most peak in the Holyoke Range which is also part of the 100 mile Metacomet trail system. The mountain itself is actually called Mount Holyoke which is home to J.A. Skinner State Park. I have also heard it referred to as Skinner Mountain. It rises 935 feet which is roughly three quarters of a mile, but in taking the road my total distance up was 1.75 miles. I ran every bit of the way up without stopping. I pushed hard, my breathing was heavy, but my legs powered on. The road curves and the hills come sharper and steeper as you near the summit.

Like I said, this is not Kilimanjaro, but wow what a great workout. My legs were on fire by the time I reached the top, but that good on fire feeling that makes you feel strong and alive. I cooled down a bit while strolling around the summit enjoying the view of the Connecticut River valley.

My legs are definitely feeling it today, but again in a good way. I can still sit and even felt great during some speed training this morning. I can’t wait to do it again though. There is another similar mountain I am hoping to try soon. I love when I find new ways to infuse more fun and variety into my workouts.

I also came away from this experience with a new appreciation for my legs. Biz wrote a post about loving her ass (if you don’t read Biz you should because her post titles alone will make you smile!) this morning and she asked her readers to comment on which part of their body they are going to embrace today. I haven’t commented yet, but my answer is my legs. For most of my life I have hated my legs. I have thought really mean things about them. I have looked at them with disgust. I have cursed them and cried about them. Despite the weight I have lost, my legs are still large. They are not as large anymore. I can even admit that my hips have slimmed down a bit. Remember my body is a classic Anjou pear shape, small on top and very voluptuous on the bottom with the largest area being the butt, hips and thighs. Oh how I’ve loathed my lower half for so long.

Like Biz, my husband has always loved me and my body no matter what size. He is quite pleased with how I’m beginning to feel about my body though he doesn’t understand my feelings about my legs, bootie and hips. He quite likes them. After running that mountain yesterday I saw my legs in a new light. I appreciate more about them the more I accomplish through my fitness endeavors, but yesterday I was thankful for them. They are strong and powerful. They do not let me down. They have helped me move faster and achieve goals I never even knew I had. So today I am embracing my legs.

While Biz embraces her ass and I embrace my legs what body part will you be embracing today? (Biz I hope it’s ok if I stole your question?!)

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Getting to Know Each Other

I can’t believe the weekend is over. Where did it go? I kicked off the weekend with a really great yoga class on Friday morning. I also managed to sneak in a 10 mile run outdoors on Saturday morning. It felt so great to run outside even if it was in the 20s. I kept thinking this is perfect running weather followed by who the heck am I? Carlos had asked that morning if we could go to the rock climbing gym so we jumped in the car after my run for an hour of climbing before his basketball game.

On Sunday, Carlos had ice skating lessons. The program he is in is phenomenal. The coaches are so kind, patient and encouraging. The group is huge yet week after week you can really see the progress the kids are making. This is echoed in the weekly emails we get from the head coach. He is so positive and clearly thrilled with how well the kids are doing. They are using sticks and pucks were introduced this week. As of yet Carlos has no plans to play hockey which is fine with us, but he loves to skate and looks forward to the lessons each week.

After skating we attended Open House at his school. It was so cute. He was proud to show us his work and his classroom. He adores his teacher and the feeling is obviously mutual. Needless to say I was feeling lots of pride and joy as well as a touch of sadness at how quickly my little boy is growing. Cue the Kleenex!

Nothing like a Monday morning to snap us back to reality. If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so everyone can see your FMM questions. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Getting To Know Each Other

1. What is your favorite color? I honestly don’t have a favorite color which drives my son nuts. My son declared his favorite color to be yellow when he was about 2 and hasn’t changed his mind since. I tend to be most comfortable around earth tones, nothing too bright or colorful.

2. Share one or more of your talents.  I got nothin’!

3. If you were spending the day getting to know someone new, where would you want to go?  Whenever I am meeting up with a new “mom” friend I love to grab a coffee or tea at Barnes & Noble or something outdoors with the kids like the playground.

4. What is your favorite meal?  If you had asked me this question 15-20 years ago I would have said pasta (and lots of it) with my aunt’s meat sauce. Today I adore ethnic food particularly Indian, Thai and Mexican, but those meals are best when I eat them at authentic restaurants. At home my favorite meal lately is a big kale salad with roasted butternut squash, loads of veggies and chick peas. I’m addicted to kale!

5.  Do you prefer to text or talk?  Texting is my preference because I really dislike the quality of my iPhone as an actual phone and since it’s my only phone I would rather just text than deal with the dropped calls or poor reception.

6. Share something about yourself that might surprise someone that you’re getting to know.  I had really big hair in the late 80’s and I saw some of the big name “hair” bands of the time like Ratt, Poison, Motley Crew and White Snake amongst others. Aqua net…oh yes I did!

7. Do you color your hair? Yes, thanks to my grandmother. I inherited the go grey in your 20s gene from my grandmother. I went gray around my right temple in my mid-20s. I hated it. My grandmother was so proud of the fact that she was totally gray by her late 20s. No thank you very much! I color my hair ever 5-7 weeks. I love my stylist. She’s adorable and always makes me feel very youthful.

8. Do you wear glasses or contacts?  I wear glasses for driving.

9. What is your favorite breakfast food?  I really love oatmeal though I’ve switched to more veggie based breakfasts like egg white omelets lately.

10. Would your friends say that you’re sarcastic?  Absolutely! I always have been and I don’t mean any harm by it. However, I am often misunderstood, but mostly by my family all of whom have known me my entire life and should get my sarcasm by now.

11. Do you prefer salty or sweet?  Sweet.

12. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?  I’m not partial to any particular attribute. I suppose I first notice personality. I almost always developed an attraction to a man after meeting and getting to know him.

13. What is the last movie you watched?  The last movie I saw in the cinema was The Hunger Games. I went to the midnight showing on opening night. Yes I’m aware that was almost a year ago. I’m approximately 83 years old on my nights off and cannot stay awake long enough to watch a sitcom. I have been watching lots of food/nutrition documentaries on Netflix. These often take me days because I don’t have time to just sit and watch a movie in its entirety.

14.  Are you religious?  I believe in God and I’ve always thought of myself as privately spiritual, but I do not attend church regularly despite the fact that my son goes to Catholic school. I love learning about all kinds of religions and I will gladly attend a service of another religion.

15. Are you a neat freak, a slob, or somewhere in between? I’m extremely tidy. OK everyone who knows me would say I’m a neat freak. I can live somewhere in between for a few hours, but then I have to tidy up.

16. Share something from your bucket list that you hope to do someday. I have so many things I hope to do and many revolve around traveling to as many places in the world as I am able to safely. I am adamant about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with Carlos on my 50th birthday.

17. Are you a risk taker, or do you prefer to play it safe?  I am a risk taker to some degree. I love doing new things, but my desire to do things like parachute out of a plane no longer holds any appeal since becoming a mother.

18. Have you ever worn braces?  Yes. I was the first person in my grade to have braces. I got them in 4th grade and off in 6th. However, I now need to consider Invisalign for my bottom teeth which have shifted tremendously.

19. Would you rather spend an evening at a theater or at a club?  I like them both, but I would choose a salsa club over the theater any day.

20. If you could have three wishes, what would one of them be? I hate to end on a somber note. I am sending my thoughts, prayers and wishes to Mozambique in hopes that the flooding will soon subside and the waters would magically disappear so everyone could return to life as it was (I will post about this later in the week). We are feeling very helpless here and know all too well from experience what they are going through. My in-laws and friends are safe and most are out of the town, but thousands of people will soon face the task of rebuilding their town once again.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions. Don’t forget to visit Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!

Day Dates

My husband and I rarely go out on dates. It has a lot to do with my schedule. I work nights and I work every other weekend. It also has to do with the exorbitant cost of babysitters these days. What the heck happened to $2/hour? When I am lucky enough to even find a babysitter the minimum is $10/hour.

My husband is a mason and he gets laid off most winters. We plan for it financially so we don’t stress about money, but it tends to take an emotional toll on the two of us. I think it’s the lack of day structure that makes my husband a bit loopy after a few weeks. Needless to say neither on of us can wait for work to begin again.

We decided to take a different approach this year. For one I have stepped down off my martyr throne and now graciously accept any offers to drive Carlos to school, do other errands or jobs around the house. We are also enjoying some much needed quality couple time together. Since we don’t have too many Saturday night dates we are now taking this opportunity to go on day dates. I have no idea why we never thought of this before.

So far my favorite day date was snowshoeing at Northfield Mountain. It was a first for both of us and it was so much fun. Northfield is a small town located in north western Massachusetts. It was established in 1723 and straddles both sides of the Connecticut River.

The trails were nicely groomed, it was a good day for a winter activity, not too cold and no wind. Oh I have to interject here that it was also my first outing in my new snow pants. I splurged and bought a pair of black North Face snow pants. I decided that in order to really enjoy winter and all the fun winter outdoor activities then I need to dress appropriately. I have never had great winter gear so I’m always cold and uncomfortable. No more! These pants were amazing; warm, perfect fit, not bulky and they looked decent. According to my husband the view from behind was rather pleasing! They weren’t exactly cheap, but I suspect I will have them for years to come.

Back to snowshoeing…it was a blast. We tore up the mountain once we got the hang of walking with the funny shoes. We followed the map to the summit. There is a reservoir on top with pretty views all the way into Vermont. We took in the view and then back down we went at a speedy pace so we could head back to pick up Carlos from school on time. It was a workout for sure, but it was so much fun it didn’t feel like work.

Enough talk. Here are some photos of the day.

Mozambican Mountain Man
Scenery along the way
Nearing the summit
We made it!

Taking a break to admire the view
Taking a break to admire the view
New snow pants and a view of Vermont in the distance
New snow pants and a view of Vermont in the distance

If you have never snowshoed before give it a try. It’s like hiking in the snow. It’s fun, refreshing to be out in the crisp winter air and it’s great exercise.